The Democrats' and Voodoo Budgeting

Posted: May 17, 2007 1:43 PM

Yesterday, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate agreed to a $2.9 trillion budget that will likely be taken up for a full vote soon. Now, if you buy into their talking points, this budget is the greatest thing since sliced bread -- it balances the budget in five years while both increasing discretionary spending and not raising taxes. Well...I can confidently tell you, as one of only a couple CPA's in Congress, that the Democrats must be conjurers of magic because that's what it will take to make a voodoo budget like this work.
Their proposal either doesn't raise taxes, or it doesn't balance the budget. But it absolutely mathematically cannot do both. It will not and cannot mathematically do both.
For argument's sake, let's assume that the Democrats want a budget that doesn't raise taxes. But there is just one small problem with that -- their budget makes no effort - none - to moderate growth in spending. In fact, it calls for $205 billion more in spending over 5 years than proposed by president, and does absolutely nothing to address the $69 trillion long-term entitlement crisis we are facing. You can't balance a budget while increasing spending at the levels they desire without raising taxes.  It is just not possible.
I recognize Republicans spent too much when we were in the majority and I acknowledge that we lost sight of our fiscal roots. We suffered last November in no small part because of that. The Democrats, though, actually think we spent too little and they are now happily moving forward with spending increase after spending increase. And despite rhetoric, they want to pay for all this excess spending with the largest tax increase in American history.
So, I would say to my Democratic colleagues, have you really become magicians or are you merely practicing slight of hand? I'd go with the latter.